The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 16, 2013

Manning plays football like its chess

(Continued)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —

It may be uncomfortable at times, but “that allows us to really jell as a team and everyone takes accountability for their play,” receiver Eric Decker said. “It helps with communication and camaraderie. The guys really trust in one another. That goes a long way when you’re out there on that field.”

A football junkie, Manning is consumed by this passion for preparation.

“His focus is on one thing and that’s trying to figure out a way to help our team win that last game,” offensive coordinator Adam Gase said.

So, when a downpour hit Denver during the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ last preseason game, Manning grabbed a ball and started throwing on the sideline. He wasn’t warming up to go back in, but “just working on his wet-ball mechanics,” Fox explained.

The Broncos didn’t retreat to their indoor practice facility during a recent snowstorm but bundled up and went outside in preparation for more cold-weather games like the one last January when the Broncos were upset by Baltimore on a 13-degree night, their only loss in their last 18 games.

Manning is driven by that defeat, and his determination to make up for it shows in his precision passes.

He’s completing a career-high 76 percent of his throws. Defenses can’t double all four of his main targets.

“Somebody’s going to be 1-on-1,” Demaryius Thomas said. “But Peyton also likes to say, ‘I don’t care if you do get doubled, you’ve got to figure some way to get open.’ And so I do. We all do. That’s the great thing about Peyton. He makes everyone around him smarter.”

And better.

———

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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